It's often said that good things never come easy, and such is seemingly the case with Denmark's Submission. After their promising debut in 2006, the band seemed to have vanished off the map. With a number of events going on with the band behind the scenes since then, the band finally returns in 2009 with their sophomore effort, Code of Conspiracy. I was able to contact guitarist Kasper Kirkegaard, who filled in the blanks about the last three years, as well as give us a small glimpse into the band's future.
Wayfaerer-It's been a while since Failure to Perfection was released in 2006, what has been happening since then?
Kasper- Yeah, it's already been three years since we released our debut album, Failure to Perfection, and we have been through a lot. We were disappointed with some things with our former label (Listenable), and how they didn't manage to get us up to the next level. For example, helping us out to do a deal with a serious booking agency, so we could get out in Europe or the world and play our music live; club-jobs, venues and festivals. After we released our debut album, things didn't go anywhere, and we were ready as hell to tour our asses off...but someone kept holding us down, so we only played shows in Denmark, and maybe 2 or 3 in Europe - and thats not nearly enough, if you wanna get your name out! Furthermore, we actually began to point questions at our own music, and tried different styles of metal out; wrote 4 songs here and 3 songs there, and yet another 4-5 songs again and again, (a lot of songs!!), and never felt that it was the right way to go. Then we said to ourselves, FUCK everyone, we are going back to what we started with, and that was to play metal that WE like to hear it and how WE like to play it (no boundaries). Actually, we were about to stop Submission at one time but we still kept on playing, because of our love for metal!
I saw that you originally had signed to Mighty Music before the release of Code of Conspiracy. What happened and how did you end up at Blistering Records?
Well, there were some business disagreements that stopped our work with Mighty Music - I won't go further into it than that. We separated as friends and that's fine. Shortly after our breakup with Mighty Music, Blistering Records contacted us, and they were more than ready to make a deal with us, which ended up being a worldwide deal which we all are very pleased with!
Was there any reason that Steven Qvist chose to leave? And how did you find Lasse Sivertsen?
Steven chose to leave the band due some personal issues, and he didn't have the desire to play music anymore. Personally, I think that he was fed up with the whole record industry, regarding promises and how much you will be awarded for good music&stuff like that. I truly understand him, and Steven is still a very good friend of Submission, as well as one of my best friends of all time! After Stevens' departure, we held some auditions, in the studio and by mail. Lasse came through by mail and when we heard him the first time, we knew the right guy was in front of us - and what a guy. Lasse is fucking awesome and doing the job perfectly!!
Was Code of Conspiracy written before or after Lasse was found for vocals? How did this affect the recording of Code of Conspiracy?
The whole album, with the exception of the vocals, was written and recorded before Lasse came in the band. Steven chose to leave the band about a month before the vocal recordings took place. We were just like, "once again bad luck struck our way", but I think our bad luck finally paid off. Lasse came through and took our music to a higher level! It didn't affect the recordings at all. Lasse had about 3 weeks to learn the 11-12 tracks, and came to the studio. We worked our way through the whole record, and I was truly stunned by him. He did everything that I told him to do, with the craziest voice control ever...and I have to say, Lasse has never recorded an album, or even a demo before, and suddenly he is in the vocal booth and recording a fucking album. Everything went very smooth and we got down all the tracks - it was a fun and meaningful process!
As I mentioned in my review, Code of Conspiracy doesn't feel like an expected follow-up to Failure to Perfection. Is there anything you aimed to put onto Code of Conspiracy that wasn't on Failure to Perfection?
We haven't really changed much from Failure To Perfection to Code Of Conspiracy; we play what we wanna hear and what we want to play! But still, over a period of 3 years, we all became better musicians, and keep getting better. I think that reflects on Code Of Conspiracy a lot! Code is more like a completed album from the start to the end, where as I felt like Failure To Perfection is missing some things that make it feel like a whole album. But whatever I do, I will still have the sense of, "the next record will be better". I think that every musician has that feeling. I think that Code is a great follow up to Failure, and from this point we will again take our own sound up to the next level.
"An Illusion Of the Perfect Forever" stands out as an acoustic track compared to the punishing nature of the remainder of the disc. How did you come up with that song?
Well, Christoffer has always been very good at these 12-string acoustic themes, and we talked back and forward about having a "breather" on the record. We recorded the guitars, laid down some bass and just took it step by step, it was interesting to do vocals on that song, because we had to think more about feelings, depth,and some emotional stuff while producing it. If I remember correctly, Christoffer wrote that song an ex-girlfriend or some shit, hehe, oh well... I think its good to show the audience that Submission is more than just another metal band. We can do almost anything and we show it pretty well on Code of Conspiracy. The most important thing of all is that we are not afraid of doing different things! Some people really enjoy it and some hate the song and think it totally splits the record (in a good way).
Is there anything you are particularly proud of when you look back on the songs on Code of Conspiracy?
Yes, I'm proud of our work as a band. We all knew what direction we wanted to go in, so even if Lasse and I had done some songs and the other guys were back home, and they came back and heard it, they were truly impressed about what was going on - and a sense that everything is going to be fucking awesome. Everyone trusts each other without being around and that is important; that we all feel free. And I'm especially proud of Lasse, "the new guy" hehe. With only three weeks to learn 11-12 songs, and the guy had never recorded before. Actually, the man has never had singing lessons; he is a guitarist with this huuuuge talent on the vocals (LASSE, stop playing that shitty guitar now haha)! He told me this weird thing when we talked about his vocal background saying, "I've never had singing lessons, I just was at the karaoke bar every weekend and sang Pantera, Queen and other complicated songs"... I was just like, "what the fuck dude, are you serious?" and he said "yup". Jacob Hansen, the main producer, was also in awe over this new vocally gifted guy - he just simply nailed it and many singers would have to be jealous about what he is capable of doing! Respect!
Do you have a favorite track of the new album?
It's hard to have a favorite because of the variety on the record - I like "Imaginary Freedom" because of the punching main verse, the bridge that leads to the chorus, and I really like the traditional part of the songwriting: verse, bridge, verse, bridge, chorus type of song, without being embarrassing - That song is a pain in the ass because it stays in your head after you have heard it, but it's a good thing! Then there is "A Terror Within", we really did a lot of things in that song; every part leads to another, but still, when we repeat the parts, they are expanded every time, and the long solo part is just fucking awesome. You should see the audience when we play the solo with the heavy rhythm section. So awesome, people are really digging that shit! And the best thing with A Terror Within is that the song has two choruses, very untraditional! Then we have "The End Of Eternity", which is the last song on the record, starting out very smooth and building up, and then boom! Double-bass drums with a flowing guitar supporting, diving into a really thrashy verse, then going into some polyrhythmic kind of thing, and leads to a phenomenal chorus, where Lasse once again takes the high notes with ease. The song also contains a very cool outro, again polyrhythmic, and the feeling we got out of it was very like being in a state of trance, or out of body experience - its very good to hear with headphones! "The End OF Eternity" takes every part of what the record contains and closes Code Of Conspiracy in the best possible manner.
I know you ended up winning 2 Danish Metal Awards for Failure to Perfection, how has Code of Conspiracy been received so far?
Code Of Conspiracy has been received quite good, many people think that Code has a sound that's going places. We haven't got that many reviews back yet, but all in all, its positive. No grades below the middle, its about 4/6 and over. But there are some people that don't like Submission because of the clean vocals, saying "that is not metal, blah blah blah" - Well, its music, that's what it is. I remember the period of my life where only Suffocation was worth listening to, because it was death metal and true, not some pussy ass musicians like In Flames and all. But it's all about opening your ears and listening, instead of having all these boundaries - with boundaries, you miss so much great music.
Are you planning on making any videos to go along with the release of Code of Conspiracy?
Yes, we have some awesome plans with a music video and we will do anything to make that happen. It will be fucking great and a "never seen before" type of thing. I can't tell you more about that. But there is some new live footage on Youtube from our tour with Mercenary. Some of the old songs, but it sounds really good though.
How did the Danish tour with Mercenary go? Any more touring plans up ahead?
The tour with Mercenary went very well, we got to play in front of a lot of people and gained a lot of new fans. The guys in Mercenary are good friends of ours and we had some good times. We didn't really have that many soundchecks at some concerts and there wasn't much room on stage, but we just kicked ass every night, and didn't gave a shit whether there was 60, 100 or 700 people. We went all in, every night, and showed what we are made off, coming back strong after some time away from the scene. About the future touring, there is another Denmark tour around sept-oct-nov, but what we need is to tour Europe or even the States. It's not enough to be a band in little Denmark. We are searching for the right booking agency that can help us get out into the rest of the world. We are all so fucking ready to tour our asses off - bring on the tour somebody!!
It seems like you've really found your sound when you hear the new album, is it too early to ask how you might expand that in the future?
Yeah, we have our sound and always had it. We are using this old sound city amp, and that is really the thing behind Submission's sound. And of course, our songwriting is not typical for the melodic modern death/thrash scene nowadays. Morten's drumming is also recognizable, and many people can tell without a doubt when they hear some new shit from us that it's Submission. It's very important to have your own sound, so people can define you, musically but also equipment-wise. We will continue doing the things that we do, but maybe the drums will be more acoustic the next time. We all dig Dirk's drum sound, especially on Soilwork's Stabbing The Drama, and want to try that out some day. You will always be able to hear that it's Submission going through the speakers!
With a few of you also playing in The Arcane Order, I have to ask: Is there any news to report with that band?
Yes, Boris, Morten, and I are also playing in The Arcane Order and right now things are very quiet, because of the Submission release. But the main man and riff-master Flemming Lund is writing new material at this very moment. When there is some stuff to work with, we will start the writing of the third The Arcane Order record. Personally, I can't wait, because it's always very exciting to do a record with The Arcane Order; the outcome is never known in the beginning and that is fucking awesome.
Name the last five cds you've listened to.
Keep Of Kalessin - Kolossus
Soilwork - Figure Number Five
Nevermore - Dead Heart In A Dead World
Suffocation - Pierced From Within
Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head
Thanks for your time, anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for digging Submission - cheers!!